David Kozlowski's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 64
7.2Avg. Review Rating

6.0
1602 #2

Sep 17, 2003

Neil Gaiman has invested some interesting ideas into 1602. Its great fun to see Marvel characters realized as post-Renaissance bards, mages and spies. The New World has been mentioned enough that Im sure the story will travel in that direction soon and perhaps well get to see the colonial version of Captain America and the Avengers Im dying to see how the Hulk is portrayed (someone told me that the Rojhaz character is Captain America, but I dont see it). Now if only Gaiman will get out of his own way and allow the core story to be told. We all know the 1602 version of Daredevil is Matt Murdocks singing bard, we dont need to see him eating magical, green tree sap then going blind to prove it.

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10
Alias #19

Feb 28, 2003

This is not the ideal place to jump onto Alias. However, this is outstanding work by Bendis, possibly the best pure writing anywhere in the industry and should not be missed. This entire story will make a tremendous, and very adult, collected edition.

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6.0
Alias #20

Mar 8, 2003

If you havent read the previous four issues in this arc you will be terribly lost. If you have read the last four issues you will be gritting your teeth over the surreal cliffhanger and its guest-star someone so obscure that I doubt he exists as anything more than a footnote in the Marvel Encyclopedia. Despite a boatload of flaws Alias is still the best comic aimed at the adult audience. Bendis on a bad day is still better than just about any other writer in the comics.

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6.0
Alias #22

May 8, 2003

Bendis has long intimated that Jessica is suppressing serious emotional issues. The events in this issue, contrived as they are, really don't do much to explain this. Given the pacing I don't see how it can be sufficiently explained by the end of the next issue. I hope that there is a point in revealing Jessica's origin and this isn't just a bridge onto the next story arc. Part of the appeal of Jessica Jones is the mystery of her past, and now that is potentially stripped naked.

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8.0
Alias #23

Jun 10, 2003

"The Secret Origin of Jessica Jones" turns out to be more of a coming of age story than a traditional super-hero origin tale. Bendis' writing is brilliant from start to finish, especially Jessica's moment with her adoptive father. Jessica's high-school aged characterization is very compelling; her confusion and angst at her situation is quite believable and painfully honest - I can't imagine what well of experience Bendis was tapping for this. I just wish that there were two or three more issues to cover what happens between high school and Alias #1. Predicting the direction that Brian Michael Bendis might travel next is nearly impossible, but I certainly hope he returns to finish what he's started here.

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8.0
Alias #24

Jul 6, 2003

Maybe we're finally going to truly understand Jessica Jones, then again maybe we won't. The suspense that Bendis has built into Alias, not fully understanding Jessica's many skeletons, has been at the heart of this two year-old series. I almost fear that once we know everything about Jessica that this will just turn into a straightforward detective series - though, in Bendis's hands that wouldn't be such a bad thing, would it?

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #51

Mar 31, 2003

This is a really good jumping on point for Amazing Spider-Man. A powerful new villain debuts and it appears he will pose a distinct challenge for Spider-Man. J. Michael Straczynski has shuttered the events of the last dozen issues, though he leaves most of them dangling. Call me foolish, but every once or twice a year I like a tiny bit of finality, if not clarity, in my favorite comics. But never mind me, Amazing Spider-Man is solid, old-school, super-hero goodness.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #53

May 28, 2003

At the end of the day Straczynski's underlying storyline is fairly silly - even by comic book standards. Fortunately the characters and their situations are quite compelling and its easy to forget that Digger is a cross between the Hulk and a John Romero Zombie. Straczynski has developed a small cast of characters, many of them original, and writes each one three-dimensionally. There are a few predictable directions for this story to go, which would be consistent with the retro feel. Ultimately, this is a very good mix of action and melodrama in the classic Marvel tradition.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #54

Jul 6, 2003

This has been a really goofy story. JMS plays it loose, but straight, and it works on the level of super-hero action-adventure. A year from now, nobody will remember this arc, even though it will probably be collected as a trade paperback. However, this has been a fun ride with plenty of action. The only regret I have is that JMS could have done more with the implications of working for the Mafia. This is typical of the JMS run, lots of questions posed, seldom are answers provided or ramifications realized. And if that isn't a reflection of our modern culture, I don't know what is.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #69

Aug 19, 2003

Red Zone has another two or three chapters left in it, though most arcs these days dont go beyond six issues, so well see. I think that the Red Skull as politician has legs, though Im sure that the Avengers will end his tenure shortly. Everyone knows that the core Avengers are going to survive, but I really cant say the same for minor members like Jack of Hearts, Falcon and She-Hulk seriously, if She-Hulk checks out, will the Marvel universe be worse for it? Its tensions like this that make Red Zone a great story. It will be a real tragedy when Johns returns to DC on a permanent basis.

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6.0
Batgirl (2000) #42

Jul 29, 2003

Dylan Horrocks tries to juggle contradictory moods and situations. One moment the emphasis is on absurd, Saturday morning cartoon action and the next I'm presented with an introspective character moment. Doesn't always work, but overall I really enjoyed this comic and the art is energetic and exciting, if nothing else. I like that DC puts forth so many female driven super-hero comics, but I tend to wonder how many girls are actually reading them anyone knows the answer to that I'd like to hear it. The obvious thrust of this story is the diabolical Dr. Death, but it's not that Kevorkian guy you're thinking of. Dr. Death is a toxic agent entrepreneur who seeks to sell his services on the underworld open market, if there is such a thing. I actually found this to be much less interesting than the character stuff, but you gotta have a bad guy in a super-hero comic, I guess. Batgirl is fun and light - even if wants to pretend it isn't sometimes.

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8.0
Batman #612

Feb 28, 2003

I know from reading Jeff Loebs previous Batman work that he likes to keep the bad guy in the closet until the last possible moment. So far all weve seen is a guy in a trench coat whose head is wrapped in bandages. We get another glimpse of him in this issue, and God save me he actually laughs maniacally. Im just waiting for him to say Moose and Squirrel. I pray the payoff will be better than the setup.

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4.0
Batman #613

Mar 27, 2003

Chapter six of Hush is exactly twenty-one pages of setup for a final-page shocker, which if you didnt see coming a mile away you might actually enjoy for Jim Lees stylistic interpretation. I am sorry to report that the Loeb & Lee Batman event is turning out to be a very hollow experience indeed. I keep thinking that Hush is going to explode into something exceptional, but it appears that the emperor really has no clothes. Thus ends another week of bad metaphors for me. Good day.

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6.0
Batman #614

May 4, 2003

The final page of this issue either reveals the identity of the mysterious villain or is just another groaner of a red herring. "Nothing is what it seems" might be the best way to sum up Loeb's ber-plot. But when the final page of chapter 12 ends everything leading up to it might have been a lie. I have a problem with that kind of storytelling; it doesn't respect the reader's intelligence. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. If you're reading this review you've probably already read the last six issues and will be right beside me five issues from now (figuratively, I hope). Maybe DC should rename this "Batman: The $27 Adventure". Ouch, sorry.

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6.0
Batman #615

Jun 4, 2003

Jeph Loeb wants readers care about the people inside the costumes, his trademark in recent years, even though there is nothing particularly new about the Batman/Catwoman dynamic. But the underlying story should carry as much weight as the characters, and really, there isn't much of a story here. Loeb has inadvertently shown that Batman's rogue's gallery is dead; they've lost their relevance. Each month another Bat-villain appears, makes some noise, and disappears without having said anything; existing only to advance the plot. Perhaps DC should consider shaking up Batman like Geoff Johns has done in Flash; that world has been totally revitalized. And consider how compelling Marvel's "Ultimate" line of comics is to readers. Looking back at the "Big" Batman events over the last dozen years: Knightfall, Cataclysm, No Man's Land, Officer Down, Fugitive, and Murderer. Each was exciting and interesting, but ultimately what's changed, other than a few minor characters dying off? Sales numbers

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6.0
Batman #618

Sep 3, 2003

Next month we learn whos behind Hush right? Jeph Loeb will really, truly and honestly explain everything. So why is there a dark, pessimistic part of me expects a final panel depicting a silhouetted figure cackling maniacally with a great, big question mark splashed over his face. At this point Ill accept Vincent Prices Egghead as the responsible villain if Loeb will just end the story on a definitive, ingenuous note.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #165

Mar 17, 2003

McDuffies Batman is more human than may be found elsewhere, he even has a somewhat dry and self-effacing sense of humor. In one scene Batman takes the butt of a rifle upside his head and thinks: I deserved that, I was stupid. McDuffie was also restrained enough not to hold back a one-liner after Batman drops his guy with a boot-to-the-head. I really respect that. In fact, all of the characterizations here are excellent, surpassing that of higher profile writers Ed Brubaker and Jeph Loeb currently of Detective Comics and Batman, respectively. Dont Blink is a great mystery in the Private Eye tradition that emphasizes interior dialog on the part of Batman and Hyland; interestingly, these are hallmarks of Brubaker and Loeb. LOTDK is well thought-out, efficiently paced and well worth your purchase.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #166

Apr 15, 2003

Batman relies entirely upon the displaced sight of Lee Hyland instead of exercising his detective skills or employing any deductive reasoning. Batman is all action here, everyone feeds him info and he runs down the leads. Hyland rides shotgun in the Batmobile for the entire issue, but his presence is the key to the whole story, too bad hes so passive. Ultimately, this chapter is just padding to set-up the final chapter. Yet despite that and some absurd plot points, this is great Bat fun.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #167

May 20, 2003

More writers should follow McDuffie's lead and strive to differentiate Batman from the other DC characters. Batman should not be distilled into an angry, masked vigilante with a grudge; he is a calculating professional with exceptional deductive skills. More emphasis on fighting crime rather than super-villains is certainly due. Word is that Legends of the Dark Knight is slated for cancellation, which will undoubtedly leave a void in the kind of varied and unique storytelling as represented by "Don't Blink". At least it's going out on a high note.

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6.0
Crimson Dynamo #1

Sep 10, 2003

John Jackson Miller has crafted a poor mans H-E-R-O (see DC Comics if you dont get my sorry reference), wherein the central character has found a device of untold power and learns how to use it through trial and error. This s a tired premise, but theres potential in telling it from a non-American point of view, unfortunately Millers interpretation of Russia seems steeped in 1990s TV and movie parodies of post-Soviet society and doesnt feel remotely believable. If theres a built-in audience for second tier Iron Man villains then perhaps Crimson Dynamo will sustain for a five or six issue run. Based on what Ive seen so far theres little to draw me back for the next issue, other than the swell artwork by Steve Ellis.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #45

Apr 9, 2003

For the concluding chapter of a storyline there are a whole bunch of unresolved threads. The emerging relationship between Matt and Milla Donovan is referenced briefly, but its not concluded in any way. The new mutant-enhanced drug, MGH, remains on the street but theres still no word on who originally created it. Then theres still the big question of whether Matt killed Mr. Rosenthal or how about that whole identity thing the media is pursuing. I expected more finality from Brian Bendis, but I suppose he has more to say on these subjects in the future. My expectations for Lowlife were unrealistic. The setup in the first couple of chapters was so good that Im probably being a bit unfair in my criticism.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #46

Apr 25, 2003

While there remain a number of dangling plots from past storylines, this is still a great jumping-on point for new readers. Bendis does an effective job of re-establishing the malevolence of the Kingpin and his manipulative ways. There is some excellent character development in the Milla and Matt relationship; Bendis does a great job of addressing why anyone would want to date a costumed vigilante. Maleev's art is very, very strong this issue; each character is wonderfully articulated with clear, readable emotions. This is another great beginning to a Daredevil story arc.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #48

Jun 24, 2003

Brian Bendis has reprised Typhoid Mary as a very lethal adversary; I hope we see her again soon. Bendis, for all his strengths of dialog, is perhaps even better at conveying the menace and razor's edge danger of his villains, without ever resorting to tired conventions and clichs. The next couple of issues should result in traumatic consequences for Matt and his extended family; hopefully it will also forever decide the issue of costume or not costume the audience has been on the hook for far too long now. Come on Brian, we deserve that much, don't you think?

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #50

Aug 26, 2003

Daredevil has grown both as a fighter and as a character. In the early Frank Miller run Kingpin was nearly omnipotent, well beyond Murdocks fighting skills. The modern day Daredevil is as vicious and capable a street fighter as anyone in the Marvel Universe, which Bendis proves without doubt in Hardcore. The revelation on the final page of this issue is not as remarkable as it has been built up to be, but the directions Bendis is free to explore are now limitless.

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4.0
Detective Comics #780

Mar 8, 2003

Brubaker has further slowed the pace of an already sluggish story. The events within are of little consequence and the plot revelations are neither unique nor compelling. I dont know how many chapters are left in this tale; hopefully next month is the conclusion. Oh yeah, the back-up story, Spore, concludes this month and makes no attempt to either explain itself or seek your forgiveness.

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8.0
Detective Comics #786

Sep 10, 2003

Made of Wood is an unassuming story, its strength is in its emphasis on the human aspects of the super-hero mythos and the crime-fighting genre. Brubaker has written an effective mystery story that is spot-on right for Detective Comics. When people think of Batman I wish this were the image theyd form in their minds. Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man) and Rick Burchett fill in next month for a Mad Hatter tale, so we get a break between gritty crime stories for a while, I guess.

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8.0
Flash (1987) #199

Jun 27, 2003

Regardless of how this story resolves next month, it is clear that Geoff Johns is about to spin Flash and this comic on its head. There are lots of hints dropped that foreshadow the big finale, and it looks like just about everyone in the Flash family will be involved - and then some! The only problem is that Johns has set a lot of wheels in motion without really explaining anything, like where did the Zoom costume come from and why does Flash spit blood when punched, but incurs no damage after crashing into a tree while traveling at max speed.

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8.0
Gotham Central #8

Jun 16, 2003

This issue feels like the necessary filler and setup for the real drama and action that is to follow over the next couple of issues as Crispus Allen seeks to clear his partner. Montoya thinks she knows who is behind her setup, which ties nicely into the Batman world, but might also be a red herring. Greg Rucka has done a masterful job of making Gotham Central seem like a real police department. These characters, their situations and this world would work beautifully as a television series, which is to say that Gotham Central is as good, if not better, than any comparisons that might be made of it.

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8.0
Gotham Central #9

Jul 21, 2003

Gotham Central, like Marvel's Alias, proves definitively that good writers can tell human stories within the confines of the DC and Marvel super-hero universes. Ultimately people buy comics for the characters and their human faults, conflicts and successes. Sure the art and the heroics are the initial draw, but readers stick with comics that convey strong characterization with meaningful storytelling. Greg Rucka has lightning in a bottle here, it's been said before that this is the series that would be best developed for TV, rather than 9021-Batchicks. You can seriously compare Gotham Central with HBO's The Wire for strength of characters and situation.

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4.0
Green Arrow (2001) #22

Mar 20, 2003

As I began writing this review Wednesday night the first bombs were falling over Iraq. Meanwhile anti-war protests have been nearly constant in San Francisco and Oakland, which borders my home in Alameda. I was a soldier during the previous Gulf War, so this is a very trying time for me; guilt, anger, hope, worry that sort of stuff. Comics were very popular in the Army (at least in the units where I served). I remember reading Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns in the early days of the Desert Storm and recall that it was one of the few times that I was able to tune out the darker realities surrounding me. I am neither for nor against the current war, but I am definitely pro-soldier you might hate the war, but please support our troops. Super-hero comics are a big source of morale in the military and morale wins wars, believe it or not. Thanks for listening, Id love to trade Emails with anyone who wants to exchange thoughts click on the link at the top of this review.

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6.0
Green Arrow (2001) #26

May 28, 2003

The basic appeal of characters like Green Arrow, Flash and Batman is their humanity. They're not from another planet; they have lives and relationships outside of their masks. I can buy the fiction of Star City and Oliver Queen's Charles Bronson with a recurve bow, but the moment demons, aliens or ghosts intrude I'm pulled out of that world. Winick does a nice job establishing Oliver Queen's personality, which is consistent with that set forth by Kevin Smith. The Elevast Corporation makes for an interesting antagonist. This is a promising start.

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6.0
Green Arrow (2001) #27

Jun 12, 2003

Judd Winick has set the stage for the second and third acts of this six-part story arc; all of the players are positioned. While the story premise is goofy and confusing I still find it pretty interesting. Plus, the art is great and there are some fun character moments. Green Arrow might be a little unfocused as a series, but it compares well to Batman and Flash as one of DC's better super-hero comics.

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10
Green Arrow (2001) #29

Aug 19, 2003

So much has already occurred in this story arc, yet two chapters remain. Im certain Winick has a couple twists and surprises in mind before were done. Green Arrow is the model for contemporary super-hero storytelling, great action, wonderful characterizations, exciting pacing. Im thrilled that there are no aliens, ghosts or other mystical aspects to this story (aside from the marauding monsters that might be immigrant workers, the revelation behind this mystery should be interesting, I just hope its not insulting). Truly great, great stuff.

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10
Green Arrow (2001) #30

Sep 17, 2003

This was an exceedingly easy review to write. Six-part story arcs usually feel dragged-out and bloated, but in this case its just right. Judd Winick owns Green Arrow and his world. I wish that all of DCs books were this well-thought out and mature. I realize that the DC audience is pretty wide, but kids are more hip then wed care to believe. DCs editorial bosses shouldnt under-estimate the intelligence and capacity of their younger readers. I would have dug this story when I was 13; Im sure as hell enjoying it at 34. Can somebody tell me why this character wouldnt work as a feature film?

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10
Green Arrow (2001) #31

Oct 24, 2003

Judd Winicks Straight Shooter storyline has been contrary to what youd expect of a DC hero: Oliver Queen lies, he's arrogant, he cheats in his relationship and his brash attitude gets people killed. Ollies emotional closing statement really sums up everything Winick has been striving for over the last six issues. Winick is to be applauded for his work here. Plus, Drakon is a great villain, the perfect metaphor for the heartless corporation he represented, I cant wait to see him again.

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6.0
H-E-R-O #2

Mar 17, 2003

I still dont know what the HERO device is, where it comes from or what its limitations are. But Im willing to forgive that for another month or so. Pfiefer is telling a compelling story, hes introduced a lot new ideas, but he leaves me with more questions than answers. Jerry is, unfortunately, kind of passive; he's more reactive than proactive. It makes him a weaker character than Id like yet Pfiefer has given him a distinct voice and I care what happens to him. I had the similar issues with Vertigo's "Y The Last Man", and it turned out to be one of the best new comics of last year, so I am hopeful. Pfiefer has generated a lot of momentum so far. I hope that he not only sustains it, but also closes out this arc in a meaningful way. Dont take the cheap way out, thats all I ask.

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8.0
H-E-R-O #3

Apr 23, 2003

The next issue concludes this initial story arc. Pfeifer has done an extraordinary job of creating an everyman character that just about anyone can relate to; especially if you've suffered and struggled during your early twenties. While the premise of a device that can change you into a super-being is preposterous Pfeifer and artist Kano continue to craft a story where, were it possible, the results would be dark and painful.

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8.0
H-E-R-O #4

May 20, 2003

However, the biggest problem with HERO is that no attempt is ever made to explain the HERO device itself. The closest Pfeifer gets to an explanation is the mysterious old lady who was apparently the previous owner. But she doesn't lend any insight beyond whining about how great it felt to be young again. Brian Azzarello's "100 Bullets" is perhaps the closest comparison I can draw to HERO. It too is an anthology series built upon a simple premise. The difference between the two is that Azzarello weaves a thread of governmental conspiracy into each story, which lends situations and characters additional, sometimes broader meaning. In HERO Jerry is exactly what he appears to be: a loser who doesn't even have Walter Mitty pretensions. HERO is well written and expertly drawn, but it appears content to tell solitary "Twilight Zone" stories in the DC universe.

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6.0
Hulk: Nightmerica #1

Jun 27, 2003

Is Hulk: Nightmerica the kind of story that moviegoers will be interested in? Well, the Hulk is shown on about half the pages, there's lots of action, there's a pretty girl, there's some government bad guys and the art is unique and impressive. Unfortunately, the dialog is kinda weak and the plotting is confusing and a bit flat. Seems like a 3 or 4 issue mini-series or just selling this as a trade paperback would have been wiser, since a TPB could have gone immediately to booksellers like Barnes & Noble, which are often right across the street from most movie theaters.

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6.0
Incredible Hulk (1999) #57

Jul 14, 2003

My biggest issue with Bruce Jones's Incredible Hulk run is that he treats the Hulk like a plot device or a punch line. The Hulk has been deployed only once or twice in these last three issues and even then he's always under the control of Creel, which makes him a pretty passive protagonist. Meanwhile Bruce Banner is constantly on the run, reacting to the world around him, rather than making proactive decisions. Right now this is Carl Creel's book. Next issue had better see Hulk/Banner on the offensive or I might be checking out once again.

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4.0
Incredible Hulk (1999) #58

Jul 28, 2003

I reviewed the last issue of Hulk only a couple of weeks ago. I was pretty unflattering. I like this issue even less. Bruce Jones keeps transferring random thoughts from cocktail napkins to the comic page, whether they make sense or not. Consider the scene where the Hulk launches a police cruiser into another car just a couple of feet from a little girl and when the page turns Banner is just walking away from the scene as though nothing has happened. I thought two pages had been stuck together. Somewhere a Marvel editor is rocking back and forth uncontrollably in his office chair, mumbling to himself, "only two more issues left, just two more."

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8.0
Jack Staff #2

Apr 19, 2003

I guess that Ive spent a lot of your valuable time explaining very little. Jack Staff defies categorization; you cant sum it up by way of a comparison, like JLA meets Monty Python (which its certainly not). Jack Staff is, at heart, a superhero spoof. It is also great fun that manages to avoid the scathing angst of similar superhero satires like The Pro, at least overtly.

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8.0
Jack Staff #3

Sep 3, 2003

Jack Staff is a spoof of comic book superheroes, military dramas and science fiction television shows present and past. Its clever and funny with a great sense of comedic timing. I wish that all comic books could be such fun. Now if Grist can only turn these around more often than three times a year

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6.0
JLA #85

Sep 3, 2003

If you havent read the previous issue of Trial by Fire then youll be lost, lost, lost. Im starting to appreciate Marvels opening page summaries its definitely needed here. JLA is lacking direction; its just one confusing or pointless mission after another. Theres no ongoing subtext or any apparent plan for the future. If you enjoy watching DCs top heroes running around punching stuff or making grandstanding political speeches, then Joe Kellys take will entertain you. The personalities of the various heroes are definitely unique, quite apart from the way theyve acted in the past and the art will certainly keep your eyes moving. JLA has become just another average comic book and thats not good enough.

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8.0
JLA #88

Oct 15, 2003

The key to Manhunters own shape-shifting ability is close observation and replication, but Plastic Man assumes forms in real-time, so Manhunter cannot adapt fast enough and consequently they are well matched, which leaves time for the rest of the league to counter-attack. Next issue should complete this storyline, Kelly has set the stage for a resolution of the Manhunters actions, but I suspect he will be taking a leave of absence to reflect on his newfound nature. I just hope Kelly wraps some of the other dangling plots from the last twenty or so issues in the process.

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10
League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen II #5

May 11, 2003

The next issue of LXG will complete this story arc. That is an exciting though sobering fact. I cannot wait to see how this story resolves, but at the same time I regret that Alan Moore may not begin a new arc for many years - perhaps never, if you believe his recent retirement statements. For now, however, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you pick up all five chapters of LXG volume two (volume one is collected in trade paperback also). Ye shall not be disappointed. Oh my God, I'm sorry, I couldn't stop myself.

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6.0
Legion #19

May 4, 2003

The writing in The Legion is clear with only a tiny bit of techno babble in the dialog. Overall, this is a bit too complex a world to easily jump into, but with a little patience you can get past the density (see the DC site link above). It appears the creative team is putting forth a lot of positive effort, I hope that it is enough to sustain the comic within such a crowded marketplace.

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4.0
Nightwing (1996) #79

Mar 14, 2003

You can tell good cop stories without resorting to ghosts, zombies or other contrived plot devices (see DCs Gotham Central series for example). The SFPD scandal is a great case-in-point: rookie cop pummels citizen over plate of fajitas; rookies father and cronies suppress evidence; D.A. brings entire senior staff up on charges. Youve got cops against cops, the mayor against the D.A. and the media making a circus out of the whole thing. Simple, yet its damned compelling believe me, the whole city is riveted! Would such events work in the comic book form? Why not? Sure its full of cheap coincidences but there are countless character angles to work from. Nightwing could certainly work both sides of the street as daytime cop and nighttime vigilante to uncover the truth. Id much rather read that.

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8.0
Nightwing (1996) #80

Apr 17, 2003

It's about time that Nightwing takes on a challenging opponent. Blockbuster, a poor man's Kingpin at best, has been on the sidelines for a long time. Nightwing's biggest threat lately has been himself - and that's actually pretty interesting.

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6.0
Outsiders #1

Jun 24, 2003

I love team comics, but there are so many these days a newcomer must seek to differentiate itself in a fairly dramatic way. While The Power Company lacked something in its execution the concept was fairly novel and they were set in San Francisco, a great place to live. But the Outsiders seem content to play in the same old DC sandbox and they're even located in New York, a setting that is no stranger to super teams. Winick borrows ideas that were clichs a decade ago (and that's being generous). His characterizations are pretty flat and there is nothing here that really inspires me to pick up issue two. However, like any television show, the first season is always a bit rocky. Even the Power Company was getting itself righted before the plug was yanked. This creative team is far too experienced to phone it in and I expect great things in the coming months. So, yeah, I'm critical of the Outsiders today, but let's judge what's happening six months from now.

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6.0
Outsiders #3

Aug 26, 2003

So, were three issues into the Outsiders and my opinion now is lower than at the end of issue one. If the villains had been remotely compelling (say real world terrorists?) and the situations somewhat plausible or at least logically explained, then the Outsiders would be a terrific team comic book. I have all the confidence in the world that Judd Winick will clean up his characterizations and write understandable dialog in due time, but I have to wonder at the need for another comic book that doesnt have anything new to say or respect its readers enough to at least try. Even the title is insulting: "Joke's on You." I'll say.

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8.0
Queen & Country #15

Apr 9, 2003

Even though Ruckas resolution is a bit too tidy, by way of Antons nancy-boy confession, the sobering epilogue redeems him. Without divulging anything, we gain a lot more insight into Taras life and further understand how hollow it must be. Blackwall isnt the strongest or most exciting Q&C tale so far, but it furthers the lives of some of the most realized characters in comics today. Now if Oni Press could only get this out on a monthly basis.

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8.0
Queen & Country #16

Jun 10, 2003

Rucka has taken a big leap with "Storm Front". He has forced change in the most dramatic way possible. I admire his boldness. Rucka is certainly more restricted on his more mainstream super-hero work (Wolverine or Wonder Woman), though he is pushing boundaries on those comics. This story arc is setting up to be one of the most personal for the Q&C cast of characters than any arc to date, which says a lot considering how much time has been invested in each one's emotional make-up. Thank God for collected editions, as their bookstore and Amazon.com listings are allowing Queen & Country to reach a much broader audience than possible as a monthly in the direct market. Q&C deserves to be read by more than just that small fraternity.

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6.0
Spectacular Spider-Man (2003) #1

Jul 14, 2003

Am I being too harsh to Paul Jenkins and editor Axel Alonso? I don't think so. There are basic tenants of storytelling that are being ignored. I've got no reason to care about any of the characters - other than that offensive New Zealand guy who exists solely for comic relief. Spectacular Spider-Man #1 is like walking into a movie twenty minutes late, there's a whole act missing. I reference the Sam Raimi movie with good reason, there are people who will visit a comic shop and be attracted to a new Spider-Man book thinking that it is a good jumping on point. I suspect that they'll be angry afterwards.

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8.0
Superman/Batman #2

Sep 24, 2003

In Superman/Batman there are equal parts dark and light, as youd expect from both of the lead characters. However, Jeph Loeb puts a great deal of emphasis into the interpersonal relationship between Superman and Batman, which elevates this story above the standard action-adventure mini-series. The dialog and thought captions express the human side of each and explains their friendship in a believable manner. Its the kind of careful character interaction that is altogether absent from Loebs regular Batman monthly. This is a really solid and effective book that I hope lasts beyond the current story arc.

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8.0
Ultimate Six #1

Sep 24, 2003

Aside for the $2.99 price tag theres nothing to complain about with Ultimate Six. Brian Bendis is setting up a conflict rich with moral dilemmas and abuses of power. Sadly, it appears there are but 3 more chapters to follow, given the quality of the storytelling thats a shame, I would have hoped for a six-part mini-series. Ultimate Six is Marvel at its best.

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8.0
Ultimate Six #3

Oct 15, 2003

I keep waiting for the confrontation between the Ultimates, the big five villains and Spider-man. Somehow I know theres a major surprise coming too. Problem is I feel like its going to be wedged into the next one to issues. How many chapters are in this story? Can someone tell me, I dont read Previews? Ultimate Six continues to relate strong characters in a mature setting, its everything I was hoping for in an Ultimate title.

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10
Ultimates #10

Jun 4, 2003

Millar closes this issue with about as monumental a cliffhanger as I could possibly imagine. I can't imagine how he's going to weasel out of this one. Perhaps we'll know by the 4th of July. Sorry, cheap dig there. I hate the long wait between issues. But the quality is so good that it you have to respect the delays. I honestly believe that this is one of the great runs in the long history of Marvel comics, however it comes out. The Ultimates is truly the smartest and most compelling super-hero comic on the shelves.

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4.0
Uncanny X-Men #423

May 20, 2003

This is an issue that would seem to be aimed at building up the fan base, and while it's a sight better than the convoluted mess that was being offered up when the first X-Men film made it's appearance, I do have to question if this is really the best introduction that one could have to the X-Men. I mean Chuck Austen employs all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in his examination of the idea that people use religion to justify downright wicked behavior, and honestly I rather dislike the heavy-handed methods that he employs to make his point, as one almost gets the sense that Chuck Austen is trying to say religion is bad. Now I'm sure he'll say he's merely trying to expose the idea that people will commit great evils in the name of religion, but he simply doesn't look to possess the writing prowess to pull it off. As it stands instead of an easily accessible adventure that would produce a new crop of fans, we have a clumsy bit of writing, that is simply isn't entertaining, nor is it as in

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6.0
Wolverine/Doop #1

May 20, 2003

I'm perfectly willing to give this book the license to be odd & unusual, as Peter Milligan has proven that he'll deliver in the end. However, I must confess this issue left me a bit disappointed, as it's a little too bizarre for me to really sink my teeth into. Now perhaps the second chapter will pull it all together, and this opening chapter will improve when I have a bit more insight into what Peter Milligan is trying to pull off, but right now the story left me a bit flat. I mean there's elements to enjoy, as I rather like the idea of Logan cast into the private investigator role, and there is a nice air of mystery & intrigue in the air. I also enjoy the surreal element that Doop brings to the book, and for the most part the little guy holds up his end of the book. However the mystery involving the pink mink & the woman who looks to have stolen it is a little too vague & unfocused. The issue also doesn't really help itself with a couple abrupt scene jumps.

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8.0
Y: The Last Man #9

Mar 21, 2003

Even though Vaughn resolves a number of prevailing storylines he still manages to exit on a cliffhanger. Robert McKee, author of the writers bible Story, says it best: ever-increasing forces of antagonism should confront the protagonists every action. Essentially, make Yorick work to get what he wants and never let your audience predict an outcome. Brian Vaughn not only understands this, he pounds it home with every issue.

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8.0
Y: The Last Man #10

Apr 25, 2003

I dare say that the final page conveys the biggest and most interesting cliffhanger yet. The next arc should be explosive. While the events in "Cycles" served primarily to emphasize character over story, the next arc is clearly fashioned to advance the central plot. I am looking forward to being shocked and surprised next month, as I am every month by this fantastic comic.

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8.0
Y: The Last Man #13

Jul 21, 2003

Y The Last Man keeps loping along. Brian Vaughn is running a slow and steady race. If there's a finish line ahead he seems content and inclined to weave his way there in the most serpentine fashion possible. The reader in me wants to see a big turn of events; some finality after which the survivors can embark in an entirely new direction. Good dramas, such as in ABC TV's Alias, treat each new season like a brand new series, that is admirable and I think that it is a model the comics industry and YLM specifically should aspire to. I don't know when the YLM season ends, but I need something big to happen soon if I'm going to keep coming back long term.

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8.0
Y: The Last Man #14

Aug 26, 2003

Brian Vaughn is a sincere writer; his characters speak and act in ways that feel consistent and believable. Im sure he has an endgame in mind for this comic, there are surely numerous major events to come. I just wish that his bosses at Vertigo would allow him press down on the accelerator a bit more. Most comic books wish they had the same troubles, Y: The Last Man is its so good we just cant wait to see how it turns out.

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